Coming soon to a sky near you!

The sky will be clear to begin the evening, so get out early to see the Northern Lights.

The sky will be clear to begin the evening, so get out early to see the Northern Lights.

Jack O'Brien and Mariah Stewart

   Last night, the Northern Lights were seen as far south as Arkansas, Arizona, and Oklahoma. Have hope Michiganders. There is a great chance we will see them here this evening.

   Tonight, Monday, April 24, the chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Holland Michigan are extraordinarily high. There is a perfectly clear sky until 3am-4am and a KP Index of 7. You have got to stay up late to try and see these amazing lights. Who knows when they will be this close to Michigan again? 

What are the Northern Lights/Aurora borealis?

   West Ottawa science instructor and former U.S. Air Force Meteorologist Nate Townsend says, “The Northern Lights is a phenomena where charged particles from the Sun are directed towards the magnetic poles of Earth, and as they come in towards the magnetic poles of Earth, they interact with molecules in the atmosphere which get excited. When their electrons get excited, they jump to a higher energy level. When they come back down, they emit light.”

   These lights can be referred to as ‘Aurora borealis’ in the north hemisphere and ‘Aurora australis’ in the south hemisphere. “They were caused by a once-in-a-three-years geomagnetic storm,” according to The Weather channel. 

When should you look for them? 

   National Space and Weather Prediction presents this information in an easy way! The interactive prediction graph shows Michigan in an area with a very high chance of seeing the Northern Lights. According to the graph the best chance you will have of seeing the lights is at 3:40 UTC AM which translates to 11:40 PM EDT. 

    Make sure to look north to see the lights. “The farther north you are, the more overhead it will be. The farther south you are, like in Michigan, the more you’ll have to look just above the horizon,” Townsend said. If you plan on viewing the lights at the Holland State Park, they should be to the right when looking at Lake Michigan.